The AU

Its Permanent Representative

and the African Diaspora

Monday, July 30, 2018

Thousands of Zimbabweans have turned to vote in Presidential and General elections, following the ousting of former president Robert Mugabe. This is the first time in forty years that the citizens of the Southern African country will vote without the founding father Dr. Mugabe as a candidate in the elections.

Most polling stations opened at 06:00 am local time and the Electoral Commission says the turnout is high and voting has been peaceful. More than five million people have registered to take part in voting to choose members of parliament and president of the country in 10, 980 polling stations across the country

The African Union Observer Mission is in Zimbabwe to monitor the country’s polls whose front-runners are the ruling ZANU-PF’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, said to be the leader of the movement that ousted Mugabe from office in November 2017, and Nelson Chamisa 40 of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance. Chamisa took over leadership of the faction of MDC that was headed by late Morgan Tsvangirai who died of colon cancer in February this year.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn, who is heading the African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe has described the election as a “turning point” in the Southern African country facing an economic and political crisis after the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe, in November last year. In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America (VOA’s) reporter Blessing Zulu, Mr. Desalegn says Monday's election is a key determinant in Zimbabwe's future. He also hailed the peace currently prevailing in the country as the campaign period comes to an end.

On July 27 President Mnangagwa met SADC and African Union election observer teams who also expressed satisfaction with the peace and tranquility prevailing ahead of the harmonized election. Polling stations are expected to close at 7 p.m.